This week the staff of Ridge Church were sitting around sharing stories and talking about wins from the past weekend at the Unexpected Christmas Store (http://rousehousehappenings.blogspot.com/2011/12/unexpected-christmas-store.html) Patrick our Family Ministry Director was telling us about the lady that he was able to help host at the store Saturday. She is a mother of 2 elementary age children that attend Piney Grove school and she also volunteers there at the school. This mother was previously in the military for 10 years and she has some deep emotional and mental scares but not from what you would think. Anyone who serves our country probably has some degree of emotional damage from war and horrific combat situations but this lady’s troubles while serving our country were brought on by her fellow soldiers. She was sexually abused for many years in the military.
Now being removed from that environment this mother of 2 still faces her past every day. When she walked through the doors of the Unexpected Christmas Store I saw hurt, defeat, sadness, and trouble on her face. Our host team quickly greeted her when she walked through the doors and took her on a ‘red carpet’ shopping spree through this store that was set up just for her and the families at Piney Grove Elementary. Our goal was to bless them with much needed household items items and gifts for Christmas but even more importantly we wanted to let these families know that Jesus loves them and has not forgotten them during these tough times they face.
While Patrick was helping pack her car full of wrapped presents and Christmas decorations this mother that is burden with her past shared this with him. “I often feel like I’m not loved, but today I know that you guys love me and my family. Today I’m loved.” As Patrick said in this meeting, “this is the fullness of the Gospel.” Taking people who don’t feel loved, giving ourselves to them for the purpose of showing them that someone great loves them more than anything else, and then they see Christ in all of it. This is the Gospel coming to life!
“Little children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and truth.” 1 John 3:18
“And the King will answer them and say, ‘As you did it to one of the least of these my brothers you did it to me.'” Matthew 25:40